March 6, 2014

A year and 22 days ago - again

A year and twenty two days ago I had just returned from South Korea watching Alex represent the United States of America in the World Winter Special Olympic Games. In honor of this life changing experience and this year Winter's Olympics in Sochi, Russia I am going to republish the posts about the Olympics.


SOG - Some things I learned

Korea is known as the "Impossible Country". Fifty years ago it was an impoverished, newly democratic country with a per capita income of less than $100. Today the reported per capita income is $30,000 make it 29th in the world. The type of growth from one of the worst economies in the world to the 15th in terms of GDP was impossible...until South Korea. This growth has been attributed to hard work, fiscal responsibility, and an export based economy.

Korea is wired, everywhere we went we saw toddlers to grandpas texting on their smart phones.These technological advancements have not only made South Korea more prominent on the world map, but its electronics, cars and even textiles have spread worldwide. This export of Korean goods even includes cultural phenomenon, like the rise of popularity of Korean TV dramas, films, and KPop around the world

CAVEAT - don't believe everything I write, so if you want to learn more it is very easy to find information about Korea, but did you know...

Sleeping on the floor is very common in Korea. "Beds" are often made of two comforters, one directly on the floor and one for cover.

I slept here for 9 nights - it was very comfortable

Koreans like efficiency, although they are not big on recycling. We stayed in an apartment with an upstairs loft and down stairs kitchen/living area. It was small but everything was placed in such a way as to create space. Our towels however....

A normal sized bath towel

The Korean alphabet is very different. Each of the characters represents part of a sound, but the sound is not complete until one or two characters are inserted on top of, underneath or next to the original sound. The keyboard is set up with the hard sounds on the left, and the softer sounds on the right. It is so amazing to watch a Korean type and write.

Korean keyboard

Renting an American friendly GPS is hard. When I made the car reservation I was told all the English speaking GPSs were reserved but they always kept extras at the counter, so we should be fine. What I did not understand was that the man meant an English speaking GPS, that needed to programmed in Korean. We met lots of interesting people in our travels when we stopped to ask to program our GPS

Our GPS Cindy, she spoke nicely but her direction we hard to read

We were challenged by the Korean cuisine as many Koreans are challenged by American food.  Rice or noddles are served at every meal along with several types cabbage including kimchee, which is fermented underground One taste is okay the second taste is vile and the third taste did not happen. I was never able to fill up at our meals, and ended up existing on coffee and crackers.

Enough said

And one final thing I already knew...but did you? Alex loves being interviewed, even if it is for another country.

Alex being interviewed by Polish TV
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